China's HIV Crisis

Courtesy Reuters


"To get rich is glorious," the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once exhorted his people. Defending this reformist vision, he added, "If you open the window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in." In the two decades of breakneck economic development since China's embrace of gaige kaifang (reform and opening), both the promise and the peril of Deng's two maxims have become abundantly clear. Although China enjoys growing wealth, increasing per capita incomes, and rising living standards, it also suffers from environmental degradation and a host of social ills including political unrest, increased crime, and a fraying social safety net. China, like other developing nations, faces tough choices between the benefits and the costs of modernity.

Unfortunately for China, however, the very nature of its particular political, social, and economic systems exacerbates the dangers of opening up. The growing problem of

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